16 May 2013

Space is not nothing – it is EVERYTHING!

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Using Space objects is not pantomime. As I wrote about in my previous blog, http://www.improv-odyssey.com/out-of-the-head-and-into-the-space/ Space object and work with contacting the where is one aspect of this work. As Viola puts it in her Handbook for the Theater Game File, (Northwestern University Press),

“Space Objects Commentary (Making the Invisible Visible”): Workshop space object games/exercises assist in uncovering the hidden self. Objects made of space substance should be looked upon as thrusts/projects of this (invisible) inner self into the visible world. In effect, then, the invisible ball thrown to a fellow player … is an aspect of a player’s sharing and connecting with the fellow player who accepts and catches the invisible ball. All intuitively perceive/ sense the unseen space substance as a manifest phenomenon, real! Space (the unknown) becomes visible through the event…. The purpose of space substance objects is to awaken that intuitive area which understands and sees this physical evidence of the heretofore hidden inner self. Recognition of this added dimension of the world brings excitement and refreshment to all. When the invisible becomes visible ­ seen and perceived-theatre magic!”

But using Space much more than producing objects. In fact, the miraculous thing of making the invisible visible for scene improvisation is the tip of the iceberg.

Space is not a vacuum. It is our medium. It is the material we use for interaction with others and our environment. It is our support and our lifeline to reality. You are either in the Space or you are in your head. When you are in your head, reality is distorted by subjectivity, past history, fear, thought and self-reflection. When in the Space, you are not your thoughts and you are not alone in the universe. My apology to René Descartes, but “I think, therefore I am” condemns us to perceiving reality through a lens, which is limited.

workshop-funSpace is that dimension we must examine and play with. It is our connection to this reality, but we so often ignore it for the fact that it is invisible. When we become mindful of it and deeply consider it as we do in Spacewalk exercises, it opens the door to a new reality.

It’s like the story of the talking fish. A diver comes upon a fish that not only can talk, but is very, very intelligent. They spend their time discussing everything under the sun. One day the diver asks the fish, what’s it like to always be surrounded by water? The fish replies “What’s water?”

Space is our water: Our reality, it is invisible to us and we hardly think about it.

If we ignore this dimension, we feel alone in the world, trying to connect emotionally and socially to others. If it is noticed at all space is just a bubble surrounding us, separating us from each other (we think). When someone enters our space and gets uncomfortably close, we feel invaded. “Hey, man! I need my Space!”

When doing Spacewalk exercises the sidecoach asks us to consider the Space. Consider it as some unknown substance. Try not to label it or compare it to mud, jello, etc. just consider it as a substance that surrounds and supports us – much like water for fish.
It is the material that is the conduit for perceiving this reality. We see through it, hear through it, and walk through it. We pick up vibes and the energy of others through it and yet, we so often don’t think about it as a connecting medium. On a quantum level, we are also part of the Space. “Let the Space flow through you as you flow through the space.” is a sidecoach Viola often used to help us feel ‘a-part-of-the-whole’.

One interesting Sidecoach Viola used during Spacewalks was “See the tree (or whatever you’re looking at). Penetrate it with your sight. Now when you think you’re really seeing it, let the tree see YOU! See something and let what you’re seeing see you!” It often generates a vivid experience.

You are experiencing something DIRECTLY and that is a fantastic thing. Viola was always after having direct experiences. Having an experience that stops the head from telling you what you are experiencing. You get a taste of this reality and it becomes addicting. This is the same concept Einstein discovered in his theory of relativity. Observation of reality changes reality and becomes part of reality. In other words, you are not just the perceiver of reality; you are a part of reality. When you recognize that it changes your perspective.

You exist and what is around you has as much right to exist along with you. When you allow yourself to be seen, the world comes into focus. It is always refreshing. Why? Because you come out of your head and come into the SPACE. Space is objective reality. It exists without your opinions, commentary, judgments or evaluations. It just IS. And so are you! You are there and everything around you comes into a sharper focus because you suspend yourself in the Space, out of your head.

The longer you can sustain this state, the more ‘enlightened’ you’ll become. It is a transcendental state and you can have it without having to contemplate your navel or sit in quiet meditation. Yes, you can get it there too, but it is always there to be perceived through direct experiences like Play and Improvisation.